The Break – Handbook For The Hopeless (CD)

Recalling the best of Hellacopter and Gluecifer with their straight-forward rock attack, New Jersey’s The Break starts out “Handbook For The Hopeless” with “The Wolves Are At The Front Door”. However, The Break does not infuse this opening track with enough energy to keep this fresh and different; by the third minute, every one of their tricks has been used ad infinitum. The same pseudo-new rock (in the style of Incubus, Breaking Benjamin, and 311) comes back again in the follow-up track “’67 Avenged?”. “67 Avenged?” is a track that has too much going on – the guitar lines and John’s vocals try to work together but end up working at cross-purposes. Trying to cast their lot in a more punk-based sound, the polemic, Strike Anywhere-influenced “Bullet and A Broken Cross” provides a harder-edge and more compelling reason than other of the previous tracks on “Handbook”. Never able to find their niche in the earliest tracks of “Handbook”, “Eyes Across The Aisle” is a more Strokes/Hives/Foo Fighters-styled track, albeit with the simplistic yet hard hitting guitar lines of a Misfits.

Slowing down the tempo of “Handbook” to create a more Southern-rock styled track in “Last Night In Manhattan”, The Break are trying to incorporate a radio-friendly track to their repertoire and almost pull it off. What keeps “Last Night” from reaching the night of popularity would have to be the lagging nature of the track, which feels as if John and the band’s final mix is slowed down slightly.Bringing back the harder-edge of “Me Inside My Head”, The Break find their niche at this juncture after a good half of the disc spent unsure of what direction they want to go. The Break continual their aural assault with “Ride the Snake”, a track where one finds it hard to get a bead on The Breeak – guitars are blazing, and Moss’s bass line comes to fruition in a big way during this track.

“The Crush of Panic” brings the number of tracks that incorporate a strong bass presence and blistering rock riffs up to the number of tracks that are straight-forward and punk-styled. The Break has a two-pronged attack over the course of “Handbook” that ultimately will ensnare legions of listeners. The tracks are perfect road trip fodder, and while there may not be much derivation from the specific formula found on a number of these tracks, The Break do things well.

Top Tracks: Bullet and A Broken Cross, We Aren’t Your Friends

Rating: 5.8/10

The Break – Handbook For The Hopeless / 2004 Ferret Music / 11 Tracks / / / Reviewed 30 October 2004

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